Virtual Activities for Older Adults Push Away the Isolation Blues

Gail and Marg are regulars at the Mississauga Seniors’ Centre, but when the COVID-19 pandemic caused facilities to close, they were feeling isolated. Within days of the centre being closed, the City of Mississauga set up virtual classes and they eagerly ventured into the virtual world.   

“I love being able to join in four or five days a week, greeting old friends and meeting new ones,” said Gail. “Knowing I can do something each day has helped mentally, physically and emotionally during this uncertain time.” 

“Before COVID-19, I was busy with activities at the Mississauga Seniors’ Centre,” said Marg. “When COVID-19 hit, there was no substitute until the virtual sessions started. What a lifesaver being able to see and hear real people, some familiar and some new.”

If you are an older adult like Gail or Marg, experiencing isolation or simply missing the social interactions you had before COVID-19, Mississauga has the right fix for you!

The recreation team have developed a weekly calendar of activities for older adults who are 55+.  The activities are designed to offer opportunities to chat, learn something new, and try different fitness classes to get some movement into your day. Let’s face it, it hasn’t been easy for anyone during this pandemic, but for older adults who haven’t been able to see their families, friends and regular social circle, physical distancing can be much more difficult.

Don’t let the virtual space scare you because joining these City hosted activities is easy. All it takes is a computer or a tablet and a few clicks to join in the fun. There are technical experts on hand if you need some help. And if you don’t have a computer or tablet, you can also phone-in to participate.

“Over the last few months, we have talked, laughed and learned about a variety of interesting and fun topics and it’s as easy as one, two and three to take part,” said Gail. “Please join us anytime; you will be glad you did.”

Here is a sampling of the free activities:

·       Monday (1:30 to 2:30 p.m.): Yarn Crafters – share your project or get an idea for a new one

·       Tuesday (11 a.m. to 12 p.m.): Coffee Talk – bring your favourite cup of coffee or tea and join to for a chat with a new focus each week

·       Wednesday (10:30  a.m. – 30-40 minutes): Fitness Break with certified instructors who will use common household items such as a can of soup for a short workout

·       Thursday (11 a.m. to noon): Hot Topics – join a chat with a new guest speaker each week

·       Friday (1 p.m. – 30-40 minutes): Fitness Break with certified instructors who will use common household items such as a can of soup for a short workout

If you still aren’t convinced, Gail says it is as easy as downloading WebEx and Zoom, registering on the Mississauga.ca/recreation stay home stay active page. You will receive a confirmation email from the city and you simply open and click on the big green button to join these sessions.

“The variety of sessions covered includes the local response to the pandemic through discussions with local councillors, a member of parliament; as well as how to contact Mississauga’s virtual library and historic homes to name a few,” said Marg. “It’s been lots of fun with the occasional trivia game, conversations, and of course, the fitness classes.”

Visit the Mississauga.ca/recreation stay home stay active page to check out the virtual classes and sign in with the click of a button. When it’s time for the class start, the host will open up the session five minutes before the class begins. We’re looking forward to seeing you soon.

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